The NYPD Tapes Confirmed

The report police hid for nearly two years that corroborates a Voice investigation — and vindicates a whistle-blower the NYPD tried to destroy

Kelly's aides have also sought to marginalize Schoolcraft—to, in effect, kill the messenger. And the department has succeeded in making his life extremely uncomfortable. Schoolcraft has been suspended without pay for 27 months, he faces department charges, he was placed under surveillance for a time, and the city even blocked his application for unemployment benefits.

But the report amounts to a vindication of Schoolcraft's claims, undermines the city's official claims about the accuracy of the crime statistics, and confirms most of the findings in the "NYPD Tapes" series.

"He [Schoolcraft] brought to light a number of different issues related to crime reporting," a police source familiar with the investigation tells the Voice.

Details

NYPD Tapes: The Series
The NYPD Tapes Part 1
Inside Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct
The NYPD Tapes, Part 2
Bed-Stuy street cops ordered: Turn this place into a ghost town
The NYPD Tapes, Part 3
A Detective Comes Forward About Downgraded Sexual Assaults

The NYPD Tapes, Part 4
The WhistleBlower, Adrian Schoolcraft

Follow continuing coverage of the NYPD Tapes here at our Runnin' Scared blog.

In the period since Schoolcraft came forward, investigators found similar informal but taboo practices in other precincts, police sources say.

Those findings, police sources say, were the reason behind Kelly's unprecedented departmental order in January, which reminded officers of their crime-reporting responsibilities.

Kelly never publicly acknowledged the actual reason behind issuing the order and claimed it was "routine." His spokesman, Paul Browne, claimed it had nothing to do with concerns about underreporting of crime. But no one could remember a similar order ever being issued in the past.

Based on the findings of this broader examination, the order told cops they had to take crime complaints. They could not send victims to other precincts, discount them because they weren't totally cooperative, reclassify a crime, delay recording a crime, or reject a crime because they didn't think prosecutors would pursue a conviction.

These are all dodges that have evolved in the era of CompStat, the NYPD's widely copied crime-fighting strategy, which ties career promotions to crime numbers, creating a strong incentive for commanders to downgrade reports.

But Kelly has not issued any overall examination of the accuracy of the city's crime statistics, nor has any outside investigative agency conducted a broader probe.

Instead, the police department has pursued a strategy of stonewalling reporters and refusing to release any documents surrounding the Schoolcraft affair. Indeed, the Voice was blocked in its efforts to obtain this report through the New York State Freedom of Information Law.

The request was blocked even though at the time, the report had been completed and therefore, should have been released.

Moreover, other investigations ordered by Kelly in 2010 appear to be on an indefinite, murky schedule. A three-member panel of former federal prosecutors is more than seven months late in issuing its findings. One of its members passed away in December.

All of this suggests that Bloomberg and Kelly are simply trying to delay a full accounting until after the next mayoral election. And other agencies—such as the state attorney general—won't address it either.

Schoolcraft alleged that commanders knew he had come forward and used the psychiatric stay to retaliate against him. For more than two years, the NYPD has publicly insisted that was not the case.

But the actual internal charges against Precinct Commander Mauriello raise new questions about that piece of the story. Mauriello, in his department charges, is accused of lying when he claimed he didn't know about the investigation into crime reporting in the 81st Precinct.

In fact, Mauriello knew before Schoolcraft was committed, investigators found. In addition, he denied he had seen Schoolcraft's memo book, which contained some of his allegations, when, in fact, he had seen it.

Mauriello is also charged with failing to file a report for auto theft, lying about his role in the incident, and falsely denying that he examined the precinct's crime report every day.

Schoolcraft, who turned out to be right, now is protected only by his lawsuit against the city—for which he was criticized.

In all, 11 of the 13 cases brought to investigators by Schoolcraft were substantiated. Complaints were downgraded in an attempt to avoid index-crime classification, investigators concluded. Reports were never filed. Reports were delayed and rewritten. Victims were ignored and pressured.

• A 2008 attempted robbery was classified as misdemeanor assault. Schoolcraft had alleged in this instance that a sergeant in the precinct ordered him to downgrade the report, saying, "We can't take another robbery."

• A 2008 robbery was wrongly classified as a report of lost property. Schoolcraft had given investigators an e-mail from the victim who claimed he had been beaten and robbed of his wallet and cell phone by three men. But the crime complaint was changed to "lost property [because] the victim doesn't feel he was a victim of a crime."

Disturbingly, two officers told the victim that because he couldn't identify his attackers, the case would be classified as lost property. That's a direct violation of NYPD policy.

None of the precinct officers interviewed in that incident could explain how the report was changed to lost property. The complaint was upgraded to robbery. Two officers were disciplined.

•The precinct somehow "lost" the complaint for a 2009 attempted robbery. Schoolcraft has said in the past that he subsequently wrote a new report after the initial one couldn't be found.

A precinct sergeant told the victim that he would have to return to the precinct to look at mug shots, a process that would take "several hours." The victim said he had a job event to attend. Later, the complaint disappeared. In addition, the complaint languished for three days—a violation of a requirement that reports be "finalized" within 24 hours. A sergeant is facing department charges over the incident.

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